Thursday, May 24, 2012

So you can't knit....................

...........well, it seems you can still make and wear a scarf.  I bought a rather tizzy or perhaps more to the point, flamboyant scarf at our local Show on Tuesday.  I am sorry I do not know the name of the person who made it, but I could have purchased quite a few of them.  I am not sure I'll be wearing it, as I really purchased it to use the various fancy yarns that were in it.  This afternoon, I found a number of different yarns and made one for myself.  It's a simple matter of measuring the yarn, and when you are satisified with the amount, tie a knot in the centre, and you are good to go.  I won't show you the one the lady made, perhaps it's not quite fair to her, but this is the one I've made, using a much simpler colour scheme, and a lesser assortment of yarns.  It feels really soft and goes very well with several sweaters/pants/skirts I wear during the colder months of the year.  

Thank you for all the concern over my mishap, both on here and privately.  I am walking quite well again, but my thumb is still hindering the stitching.  Obviously, I can still make a knot......LOL...

Monday, May 21, 2012


On Saturday night we managed to go dancing again.  It was chilly, but not so bad if you kept dancing.  We had a lovely time, and caught up with people we usually don't see all that often.  The music was pleasant, and thankfully, we managed to get home without colliding with any kangaroos.  As is often the case at country dances, there is a 'dance of chance' so to speak.  It's a little akin to musical chairs I suppose.  In all of our years dancing, we had never been the last couple standing..........until Saturday night.  There are prizes of course, and I received this lovely potted chrysanthemum.

Hubby didn't miss out either, and was VERY pleased when he opened his package, although he is yet to open the box.  He was up with the sparrows again on Sunday morning, and worked on the tractor all day.  He did sleep well last night.

Not all surprises are equal...................I have to admit to having a silly spill late yesterday afternoon, resulting in an injured left ankle, and right thumb.  I really can't explain what I did [and no, I hadn't been drinking], it's just too silly, but at first I thought I'd broken a bone in my foot.  I could walk on it, and it didn't swell up straight away, so I told myself it was fine.  Yes, I've been doing the ice, etc., and today I can get around in an okay way.  I'm rather hobbled with my stitching though, as my thumb won't do what it's supposed to.  We have the local Show tomorrow, and I think I'll have to wear some very soft flat shoes.  Oh well, I don't think I'll take too long to mend.

Thanks heaps for all the comments. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lots going on..........

At the moment there seems to be a never ending stream of tractors, trucks, and machinery back and forth as the men rush to get things done while the weather is fine.  The cotton is being harvested, and that should finish today.  I managed to get some photographs of the machines actually working this year!!  The photograph above shows how the cotton is transferred from the bin on the picker to the 'boll buggy'.  It's very dusty of course, but thankfully, these days, machinery is fitted with air conditioned cabins - so much better for the operator.

When the boll buggy is full, the driver takes it out to a prepared area where it is again transferred, this time to the module 'builder'.  Needless to say, the operation of these monsters requires concentration!!  The load is not just tipped in one place - it has to be spread along the length of the module bin.

I hope this photograph will show the large container/bin where the cotton is compressed and made into a large, tight, block of cotton, ready to be loaded onto the trucks to take to the cotton gin.  I did show a photograph of a cotton module last year, but I can't find it on my blog at the moment. 

I believe the growing season was again not ideal for a 'bumper' crop.  There were lots of days early in the life of the crop when we had cloud, fog, light rain, virtually no sun.  This led to uneven flowering, and consequently, there are still heaps of unopened pods.  The unopened, immature pods are easily visible in this shot.

 To bore you a little longer, I've taken a close-up of one of the pods, so you can see how it has just started to split - it's rather attractive isn't it.  I think it is such a shame there is cotton in there, but not ready for harvest.

Of course, cotton harvesting isn't the only operation going on at the moment.  We've also had an abundance of pasture growth this year, so the men decided to enlist a man to cut and bale as much as possible, in order to save some for the bad times.  The shed is full, and now they are starting to make stacks out in the paddock.

I couldn't help but share this not quite so busy lot.  I suppose in one way, they are busy - busy sitting around, doing nothing, and putting on weight ready for market [oh dear, I hope they didn't hear me].  I suppose it's a great life while it lasts.

Thank you again to all who continue to make the time to comment on the things I have to share.  I value your time, and it's lovely to know people care.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Family Excitement

I am finally able to share the excitement our family experienced last weekend.  Our little girl won a prize!!  The prize - to run out with the Brisbane Lions {AFL or Aussie Rules} last Saturday night.  She was so excited when she was told, and I believe hardly slept until the big night.  The prize package included accommodation and a lovely breakfast the next morning, for the family, and a number of chosen friends.  She chose to take her best friends from school [all from the one family], and I believe they all had a fabulous time and would not have missed it for anything.  What a great experience for her, something to look back on later in her life.  The teams and their sponsors are to be congratulated for such opportunities.  She also received her own jersey, shorts and socks as you will see.  An exciting night for them.  This is really the only photograph I can share, so I hope it is clear enough. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Plain Sewing

Some weeks ago one of my girls asked me to make fresh loose covers for her verandah chairs [folding directors' chairs].  She simply could not buy anything suitable.  I managed to cut an old one apart, then promptly forgot how it all went together.......  Thankfully, I was allowed to have one chair to use as a 'model', and that certainly helped make the jigsaw a little easier to put together.  I purchased the fabric from Spotlight while we were away shopping a few weeks ago.  It is heavy cotton duck/canvas, so I hope it wears well.  The chairs are on the north eastern corner, and get sun almost all year round.  There were some interesting colours to choose from, but I often find really bright colours fade much quicker than neutrals.  So, whatever you care to call this, be it, donkey, camel or ecru, I just call it good old common garden variety BEIGE!!!  

I did try to find a pattern for this type of loose cover, ie via Google, but everything that was available seemed to be frilly, or tied with a bow at the back - just the thing for catching dust and attracting spiders to make webs!  This more sober styling is much easier to care for in the long run.

I decided to cut the pattern pieces from some spare calico, with written measurements on them.  I can now store these in a safe place, and have them to hand when this set bites the dust [yeah, sure.........].  As these were copied from a manufactured cover, there were no instructions on how or where to stitch first, and so on.  There are some interesting 'extensions' for accommodating the armrests, but it all goes together properly, and easily.  There are only three pieces - the long centre piece, from the floor at the back to the floor in the front, and two sides pieces, quite nifty in my opinion, but then, I'm not an expert where soft furnishings are involved.

Thank you as always for your responses to my last post.  It is heartwarming to know people take an interest in each other.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Shower of Gifts

I must share these beautiful gifts with readers!!  Last week I received a very large package from my friend and fellow Blogger, Wanda-Maria, and was totally overwhelmed at the contents [still am].  Thank you so much to Wanda for your generosity, and caring spirit.  I have put together the above collage, which when enlarged, will show mostly handmade gifts, and some purchased souvenirs.  The little door hangers and porcelain clogs are simply too cute, and the richly embroidered bags show Wanda's passion for embroidery and colour.

I have also taken a few close-up photographs to share the wonderfully flamboyant way Wanda has used fabric and stitch.  There are rows and rows of machine stitching, and the floral trims are so full and exotic.  You really have to feel them to know how much work has gone into making each one.  I honestly have never seen such full handmade blooms.  Mine are really puny compared to these!!!

I do hope you all enjoy seeing such colourful work, and thank you sincerely Wanda for showering me with such an abundance of gifts.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Terrific Teabags!!

I have again been absent from blogging, owing to home duties [read cleaning/tidying my terrible mess], and preparing lunch for long time friends who decided to pay us a visit yesterday.  Thankfully, I had finished fiddling with a new journal cover, and have another interesting surface to share with everyone.  This was made using recycled teabags, coloured in various ways after being fused to a piece of pelmet vilene.  The odd looking trim on the front was created by using PVA glue in a embossing mould.  It looked like a clear skin after the glue had dried, and simply peeled off the mould, which is plastic.  I painted it, rubbed over that with some Treasure Gold, smudged that a little with White Spirit and then quickly sprayed on some Moonshadow Mist, which left it looking a little bit second hand, but that is the look I was trying to achieve!!  I learnt about this PVA skin making via online lessons from Lynda Monk. The three little brads are a copper colour, quite bright compared to the rest of the surface.

I hope the back view will show some more of the teabag treatment.  There are a couple of layers, going in different directions.  I added some simple running stitch/quilting lines in a Papillon metallic copper thread.  The whole piece was given a coat of Mod Podge to seal it.  It looks and feels a little like leather, but definitely smells like glue......LOL.

The PVA skin trim was initially attached with craft glue, and then I added some uneven straight stitches.  I was afraid to stitch the outer edge with very close machine satin stitch, as I feared the whole surface may tear away, so I used a very large, open zigzag to attach the lining/sleeve to the outer surface.

I hope this view will show the inside lining fabric with the very open zigzag.  This lining was fused to the back of the outer surface, and hopefully that fusible webbing will help hold the fibres and prevent fraying - after all, it won't be laundered. 

This view should show everyone how I finished the outer surface.  I started with a piece of tea stained fabric, fused to pelmet vilene cut to the required journal dimensions.  I allowed the teabags and fabric to protrude over the edges of the vilene, and after all the surface preparation was completely dry, it was pressed back, with corners mitred.  The lining fabric was then fused to this, making sure it was taken to almost the very edge.  I feel this has given me a neat and serviceable finish.

This did take quite a time to make, but it is rather a unique surface, and I'm already preparing more teabags for use in some other way.  At night, instead of knitting, I am picking teabags to pieces!!! 

Thank you to everyone as always for the support and encouragement you give me. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Serious Shopping

I know readers must think I have been shopping like there is no tomorrow lately, but this time, this purchase was all about the man of the house.  He has finally decided that one of these four wheel ATV's might help him, perhaps with the odd cattle mustering job.  We were away for a few days at the end of last week, so finally he managed to get what he'd been looking for, and at a good price.  He also had to have a better seat cover, the obligatory 'branded' oil and filters, and some of those portable ramp things to assist with loading it onto his vehicle!!  All in all, he had a good day - to say the least.  I am sure he will make good use of it, and works hard, so why not!!  I am happy for him.

By the end of the day, and after some other 'male' shopping I think he may have felt I was being left out.  We popped into one of the larger electrical retailers to have some photographs made, and had a little look around while that was happening.  I've been complaining [not bitterly] for a little while about my little HP printer jamming when I try to print onto thicker fabric, so we picked up a mid-range brand with a slightly different paper feed, so here's hoping when it comes to the crunch I won't be disappointed.  I have been so busy since we were back that I haven't even taken it out of the box yet!!  I have been told by other people that a printer which feeds in a slightly L direction is more likely to do the job, rather than the U journey that my paper takes in this little HP.  Fingers crossed................

And, last but not least, we bought me a lovely leather handbag, which was on sale of course.  As it is almost Mothers' Day, I suppose this is as close as I'll get to a gift.  I have just accepted the fact that he is never going to buy me flowers, chocolates, or gifts for such occasions.  Oh well, not to worry.  Life goes on.  Again, I haven't even 'packed' the handbag with the necessities, only given it a rub with leather dressing, and smelt it a few times.  I absolutely LOVE the smell of leather, and freshly mowed lucerne [something I associate with my childhood].

So that is a selection of the damage we did to the bank account. Hopefully we won't be going on any more shopping trips like this any time soon!!!

Thank you again to everyone for such lovely comments on my painted/embroidered landscape.  I always feel buoyed up by such encouragement.